If you are contemplating downsizing, join the club. You will find yourself in very good company.
The five-bedroom house for a family of three is going the way of the Dodo. Both young people and senior citizens are making the transition to smaller living spaces for a variety of great reasons, including:
- Financial: People of all ages are waking up to the fact that their dollar goes a lot further if they reduce. Downsizing for seniors and millennials alike makes good financial sense.
- Peace of Mind: To declutter the mind, it helps to declutter our surroundings, shedding possessions we no longer need and keep around just because we spent money on them once, long ago.
- Reclaimed Time: In addition to extra hours at work and mounting responsibilities, all generations are waking up to the fact that you can always earn more money, but can never get back time. Maybe that time isn’t best spent vacuuming 4,000 square feet.
- Close to the Action: Whether it’s the thrill of downtown or the comfort of proximity to loved ones, reducing our baggage makes it easier for us to live where we want in addition to how we want.
- Mobility: The global economy shrunk the world, and more people than ever want to see it. You can’t have a nomadic, freedom-filled lifestyle with a huge house full of stuff to tend to.
- Environmental Friendliness: Massive houses and their possessions have a big environmental footprint, from the fuel it takes to build them, to the fuel it takes to heat them, to the volume of garbage the stuff we buy generates. Among all the other benefits, downsizing is the green choice.
- Community: More tolerant and pluralistic than ever, people find that they don’t want distance from their neighbors, but closeness to their neighbors to make connections that earlier generations might have shrunk from in fear.
Ready to join the ranks of the downsized? Hold your horses—it can be a big job to downsize your home. You can easily get overwhelmed if you don’t break the tasks down into manageable chunks.
Get your downsizing project off on the right foot with True Legacy Homes’ Downsizing Checklist for the Aspiring Minimalist.
1. Get Organized
- Contact moving companies
- Set a move date
- Measure new living space and furniture
- Schedule a donation pickup
2. Identify Large Items to Keep
- Bedroom set
- Dining room set
- Sofas, couches and club chairs
- Tables, cabinets and entertainment centers
3. Sort Out Unneeded Items
- Give away
4. Get Your Paperwork in Order
- Post office/voter registration
- Banks, DMV, etc.
5. Pack Up
- Essentials suitcase
- Arrange helping hands
- Arrange transport
- “Open First” box
Downsizing Home Checklist
Step 1: Get Organized
Establish an achievable timeline and lay the groundwork for a successful move.
- Contact moving companies for estimates. You can often obtain quotes online to review at your leisure.
- Set a move date.
- Make measurements of your new home so you know what items you can fit where.
- Schedule a donation pickup for your move date so you don’t have to run an extra errand to the donation site. Many charities and thrift stores will pick up your large items, as well as boxes or bags of donation items, with enough advanced notice.
Step 2: Identify Large Items to Keep
Go room by room, taking stock of the largest items among your possessions. Consider whether or not any of these items will make the move to the new home:
- Washer/Dryer: Does your new home have machines already? Hookups? An on-site laundry room? Remember, the goal of downsizing is often to free up time as much as money. How much benefit would you gain from spending a little money and having your laundry picked up, washed, folded, and returned on a regular basis?
- Bedroom Set: Are any of the pieces gifts? Keepsakes? Heirlooms? Things you couldn’t sleep without? Remember, downsizing can be an opportunity for your large possessions to live on as the possessions of new owners.
- Dining Room Set: Ditto the dining set. Small apartments tend to eschew the formal dining set in exchange for breakfast bars, coffee tables, etc.
- Sofas, Couches and Club Chairs: Think about guest seating, but remember smaller houses and apartments serve smaller gatherings. Old-school heavy metal sofa beds can often be exchanged for lighter flip-out sofa beds.
- Tables, Cabinets and Entertainment Centers: Are any of the tables or cabinets sentimental favorites? Could the functions of several tables or entertainment centers be combined into one?
Step 3: Sort Out Unneeded Items
Group or tag furniture based on its fate. Use the “Four-Pile Sorting Method” to identify items to:
- Sell: Antique items in good condition could be turned into cash through an estate sale, yard sale, eBay auction, or craigslist posting.
- Donate: Remember, you can schedule with charities to send a truck to pick up large furniture items for donation.
- Give Away: Posting on your social media platforms can alert relatives that a piece they have been admiring in your home for years may be coming up for grabs.
- Trash: Remember, it costs money to have large items hauled away to a landfill.
Step 4: Get Your Paperwork in Order
Square away the administrative aspects of your move, including:
- Submit a forwarding address to the Post Office. Don’t forget to update your voter registration too!
- Arrange transfers of service with your utility providers.
- Update any subscription delivery addresses.
- Update your banks, credit card issuers, insurers, the DMV, and other crucial providers with the new address.
Step 5: Pack Up
It’s time to get everything ready for the move.
- Pack a suitcase of essentials, as if you are going on vacation, to get you by while your possessions are still in boxes.
- Collect boxes and crates.
- Find your helpers (professional movers or friends and family bribed with snacks, drinks, and the pleasure of your company).
- Arrange transportation (a borrowed or rented truck).
- Pack an “Open First” box—whatever you will need soon after the move. Examples include favorite clothes and shoes, cookware, toiletries, etc.
Create three categories of boxes and cartons: “Keep,” “Maybe,” and “Downsize.” Only put in your “Keep” boxes items that you have to take with the move. The “Maybe” boxes are for items you think you could use in the future but haven’t used in a while. The “Downsize” box is for stuff you have held onto for no good reason. The “Downsize” box will be picked up by the donation truck or filed away in the dumpster. Downsize Home Pro Tip: Committed downsizers will cover their eyes and trash or donate the “Maybe” boxes as well.
For more tips on downsizing for seniors, young people, and the young at heart, contact True Legacy Homes. We can make your San Diego-based downsizing project a breeze.